Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Night Hawks as Weather Forecasters
We live between Saguaro National Park West and the Santa Cruz River. Every evening just before sunset, I run about 2 miles with one of my dogs. Chaco and Kira take their turns in that. On my way home, running south, I always encounter several dozens of Lesser Night Hawks that are moving from their breeding grounds in the Tucson Mountains (including our own backyard) to their nightly feeding area at the river in Marana. They appear like clock work as soon as the sun touches the horizon, and they always all fly in the same direction - north. In May and June, they were usually silhouetted against the sky because they were flying quite high.
Lately, they come in low, dodging saguaros and even me and my dog on their way, and impossible to photograph.
My grandmother in Germany always told me to watch if swallows and swifts were flying high: more sunshine to come. Low flying swallows: rainy days ahead. Now I think it's the bugs that fly high or low and insectivore, on-the-wing-hunting birds are just following suit. The bugs may be influenced by the barometric pressure changes, or the coming rain just brings out different bugs. My grandma was certainly as good as any weather forecaster in the seventies in Germany